This Sinaloan Stylist Makes Swank Nails Inspired by Cartel Boss El Chapo

Ofelia Almeraz, who goes by the name Alexia, is the owner and chief stylist at Alexia’s Nails and Spa in South Gate. She specializes in the glitzy, elaborate style of her native Sinaloa, Mexico, also the birthplace of the notorious boss of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. In January, after Mexican security forces arrested El Chapo in Sinaloa, Almeraz launched a new design she called Chapo Nails. She seals a printed sticker of the druglord wearing the blue silk shirt he made famous in an interview with Rolling Stone

Twenty-four years of painting women's nails for a living have made Almeraz ever so sensitive to a good love story, which is why she pairs El Chapo in the design with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, the object of his affection.  Mexican authorities say they were alerted to El Chapo's location after del Castillo flew to Sinaloa to meet in secret with the elusive crime boss last October, to discuss making a film of his life. The Attorney General's Office later released the text-message exchanges between the actress and the druglord, suggesting that Chapo risked capture to act on an infatuation with the actress, whose biggest star turn in Latin America was in the hit TV series La Reina del Sur, in which she played a female cartel boss. 

For her Chapo Nails, Almeraz hand-paints in script lettering the choicest excerpts from the fateful text-message exchange. She estimates that four or five women a week come to the salon for the Chapo Nails, and that in nearly every instance they are sent by boyfriends or husbands — who foot the bill. The men, Almeraz says, like their ladies to look like buchonas, a Sinaloan slang word loosely defined as “a strikingly good-looking woman who tends to be the girlfriend/love interest of a gangster.” Read the story here. 

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